The lawyer for the man accused of running down a group of cyclists in 2009 and fleeing the scene said his client's actions came from a momentary lapse in judgment, and did not amount to a criminal act.
An Ottawa courtroom heard closing arguments in the trial of Sommit Luangpakham, 47, who is charged with multiple counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
Five cyclists were injured, four seriously, after a van struck them on March Road in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Kanata on the morning of July 19, 2009.
Defence lawyer Richard Addelman told the jury there was no evidence that his client was driving dangerously before the crash, and said it was a case of a momentary lapse in judgment. He said his client fell asleep at the wheel after being out all night.
Addelman dismissed testimony from police officers who said Luangpakham smelled of stale alcohol and said if police wanted to have him take a breathalyzer, they could have.
He concluded by saying it was a sad and heart-wrenching story but didn't amount to criminal behaviour. He urged them not to convict his client.
Crown disputes defence version of events
Crown attorney Matthew Humphreys told the jury it wasn't a momentary lapse in judgment, and said eye witnesses testified it took upward of 10 seconds to run down the five cyclists and their bicycles.
The Crown suggested it was a fabrication for the accused to say he believed he hit a pole because it wasn't consistent with the van's damage, which included a blown-out windshield and dents on the side, hood and roof of the van.
Humphreys said Luangpakham deliberately failed to stop because he didn't want to face the truth of what he'd done.
In closing, Humphreys said leaving five injured cyclists on the road was criminal in nature and asked the jury to convict on all charges.